Wednesday, September 25, 2002

Il Postino/The Postman (1994) - Italian - May be not a great film but not far from it either. Plot: Simple Italian postman learns to love poetry while delivering mail to a famous poet; he uses this to woo local beauty Beatrice. The film is remarkable for one of the very best performances I have seen, by the Italian actor Massimo Troisi. Philippe Noiret as the famous poet Pablo Naruda is also wonderful. The camerawork and the soundtrack also add to the feast. Dir by Michael Radford (was a surprise to know that he was born in New Delhi).

Memorable lines:
Pablo Neruda: "Man has no business with the simplicity or complexity of things."
Pablo Neruda: "When you explain poetry, it becomes banal. Better than any explanation is the experience of feelings that poetry can reveal to a nature open enough to understand it."
Pablo Neruda:"Even the most sublime ideas sound ridiculous if heard too often."

DVD. 108 min. PG-L1V1S0. 8/10. imdb
The Century of Films

by Derek Malcom

Saturday, September 21, 2002

Breakfast at Tiffany's (1961) - This is what I would call a work of brilliance. Close to life and so very unpredictable. The characters are so much more identifiable with all their weaknesses and yet elusively mysterious because of their individuality. The subtleties of the movies are easy to get missed in the first viewing esp. if you are busy enjoying New York. Dir by Blake Edwards, the film is an adaptation of a Truman Capote novel. The screenplay with some terrific lines is written by George Axelrod. Again Audrey steals the show, even though George Peppard's performance does a lot for the character of Paul/Fred. However one feels that the caricature character of the Japanese could have been done without.

Memorable lines:
Paul Varjak: "You know what's wrong with you, Miss Whoever-you-are? You're chicken, you've got no guts. You're afraid to stick out your chin and say, "Okay, life's a fact, people do fall in love, people do belong to each other, because that's the only chance anybody's got for real happiness." You call yourself a free spirit, a "wild thing," and you're terrified somebody's gonna stick you in a cage. Well baby, you're already in that cage. You built it yourself. And it's not bounded in the west by Tulip, Texas, or in the east by Somali-land. It's wherever you go. Because no matter where you run, you just end up running into yourself."

Holly: You know those days when you get the mean reds?
Paul: The mean reds, you mean like the blues?
Holly: No. The blues are because you're getting fat and maybe it's been raining too long, you're just sad that's all. The mean reds are horrible. Suddenly you're afraid and you don't know what you're afraid of. Do you ever get that feeling?
Paul: Sure.
Holly: Well, when I get it the only thing that does any good is to jump in a cab and go to Tiffany's. Calms me down right away

TV-AMC. As part of "Absolute Audrey Marathon". 115 min. Color. 8.7/10. imdb
Wait Until Dark (1967) - 3rd time watching and it still amazes me. There are few films that can capture your mind and heart together at the same time, in a better manner. Adapted from a stage play written by Frederick Knott, the movie is a fine example of wonderful direction (by Terence Young) especially considering that there was not much of a story to tell. The gripping screenplay is written by Robert Howard-Carrington . Brilliant performance by Audrey. Also liked Alan Arkin as Mr. Roat.

TV-AMC. As part of "Absolute Audrey Marathon". 107 min. Color. 8.5/10. imdb
Roman Holiday (1953) - This delightful romantic comedy won Audrey an Oscar. Directed by William Wyler, the movie made everybody fall in love with Audrey and Vespa scooters. Gregory Peck spends the lovely holiday with her in Rome.

TV-AMC. As part of "Absolute Audrey Marathon". 118 minute. B/W. 7.5/10. imdb

Friday, September 20, 2002

The Third Man (1949) - Classic Film-noir. Dir Carol Reed. Plot: Arriving in Vienna, Holly Martins learns that his friend Harry Lime, who has invited him, recently died in a car accident. Joseph Cotten, Alida Valli, Orson Welles, Trevor Howard.

Memorable line:
Harry Lime: "In Italy for 30 years under the Borgias they had warfare, terror, murder, and bloodshed, but they produced Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci, and the Renaissance. In Switzerland they had brotherly love - they had 500 years of democracy and peace, and what did that produce? The cuckoo clock."

DVD. 104 min. B/W. 7. imdb

Wednesday, September 18, 2002

Psycho (1960) - Quintessential Hitchcock. Written by Joseph Stefano, based on the novel by Robert Bloch. Great camerawork (by John L. Russell). Great direction. Filmed in black and white. Presents extraordinary visuals and good screen excitement. Aided by a very good performance by Anthony Perkins as the motel owner Norman Bates.

Bonus materials in the DVD include several interviews for "the making of".

DVD. 109 minutes. B/W. R-L0V1S1. 8.5. imdb

Tuesday, September 17, 2002

Almost Famous (2000) - The film has the same flavour, which is constituted by romance, light comedy, drama, emotion - all in subtle amount, that was present in the previous venture of Cameron Crowe - Jerry Mcguire. A very uniquie and refreshing style. This autobiographical film (of Crowe himself) boasts of some good lines, moments, performances (for one, by Kate Hudson) and a very pleasing soundtrack.

Memorable lines:
"The only true currency in this bankrupt what you share with someone else when you're uncool."
"They don't even know what it is to be a fan. Y'know? To truly love some silly little piece of music, or some band, so much that it hurts."
"Of course I'm home. I'm always home. I'm uncool."
"I don't make the rain. I just have the best umbrella"
"Adolescence is a marketing ploy"
[Finally getting his interview with Russell Hammond]
William Miller: "So Russell... what do you love about music?"
Russell Hammond: "To begin with, everything"

The DVD has behind the scenes, production notes, and other goodies.

DVD. 122 min. R-L0V1S0. 7.5/10. imdb

Sunday, September 08, 2002

Aakhri Khat (1966) - Brilliant work by Chetan Anand (story, screenplay, dialogues and direction). Rajesh Khanna, Indrani Mukherjee and a decent performing Naqi Jahan starts in this "Bunty"-dominated film. The child character is one of the very best portrayals in Hindi Films and a treat to watch. And then Kaifi/Khayyam raises the film with beauties like mere munne, aur kuchh der Thahar, bahaaro.n mere jeevan bhii sa.Nwaaro and the one in which Bhupendra plays himself (Singer with a guitar) in the beautiful song ??. Jal Mistry is behind the black and white camera.

Memorable quotes

Police: ye bachchaa ro kyo.n rahaa hai? ये बच्चा रो क्यों रहा है?
Nana Palsikar: peenaa to manaa hai. khaanaa bhii manaa hogaa. ha.Nsanaa to apane aap manaa ho jaayegaa. par ronaa kyo.n manaa hai? पीना तो मना है. खाना भी मना होगा. हँसना तो अपने आप मना हो जायेगा. पर रोना क्यों मना है?

DVD (WEG). B/W. 8/10

Andaz Apna Apna - Classic. 5th or 6th viewing. 9/10.

Mere Jeevan Saathi (1972)- Pancham makes the mood with the title song that runs along with the credit and when music director's name is shown, he screams "hey, that's me, baby!". A little more to see than what you would normally expect from a Ravi Nagaich movie. Yet the saving graces are the amazing songs like deewanaa kar_ke chho.Doge (my fav of the lot), the sizzling Asha number aao naa gale lagaao na, the ultimate 'car' song chala jaata hoo.N, the soft deewaana leke aayaa hai, the brightening kitne sapane kitne armaaN, the soulful Kishore bhajan apanoN ko kab he shyaam and of course the most popular o mere dil ke chain. Tanuja is the better of the acting lot. DVD. 5.5/10

Wednesday, September 04, 2002

There's Something About Marry (1998) - could have been a better movie. romantic comedy. dir by farrelly brothers - fall way short of what they could achieve in Dumb and Dumber. mediocre performaces by cameron diaz and ben stiller. matt dillon saves the show a little bit. seems forced humor at most times. okay for light viewing. TV - Fox. 6/10. imdb
Never Been Kissed (1999) - a youth romantic comedy with a good amount of bollywood-ish expression of emotions. dir by raja gosnell. drew barrymore surprises with a decent performance. Plot: A journalist enrolls in her old highschool as part of her research for a story. TV - 6.5/10 . imdb
The 39 Steps (1935) - a true hitchcock classic. a comedy thriller. among his best as far as cinematic technique is concerned. Plot: A man in London tries to help a counterespionage agent, and is soon finding himself in one jam after another. DVD - 7.5/10. imdb
Mr. Smith Goes to Washington (1939) - classic. dir frank capra. memorable performances by jean arthur (loved her), james stewart. Plot: a naive man is appointed to fill a vacancy in the US Senate. His plans promptly collide with political corruption, but he doesn't back down. DVD - 8.5/10. imdb